The days after Independence Day
Peace & harmony, yin & yang and the power of thought

Building a nation takes true integrity & real effort

Michael Dom and PNGMICHAEL DOM

IT'S no great revelation to say that Papua New Guinea is in crisis today because of the leaders we have elected over the past 40 years.

Physical facilities and the material environment can always be bought and paid for with money.

But you can't buy true respect for law and order, integrity of leadership, diligence at work and the motivation in people to be good citizens no matter what socio-economic standing.

No matter how much money we have and no matter how much we exploit our natural resources, Papua New Guinea cannot buy its way into Paradise.

Buying things is what our government members are good at.

That is precisely what Speaker Theo Zurenuoc tried to do with the 400 year old King James V Bible.

Theo - you can't buy faith like new stadiums to amuse the masses and a new overhead pass to avoid them.

Justin - you can't build unity on winning sporting events with cash incentives for players. There's something far deeper that we have to dig into.

Peter - you can't keep fooling around with our money, making your sneaky deals and pushing your own agenda.

We can't buy a new nation with money.

We have to build it with blood, sweat and tears.

Our leaders have to be prepared to make the real sacrifices that good leaders are prepared to make, like standing down to allow the course of justice to take place.

And we also have to be willing to vote for those kinds of leaders.

Don't let's pretend to not know who these leaders are.

Simbu's knew the calibre of Sir Joseph (Joe) Nombri, but he was not chosen to be their political leader.

Madang people decided against Sir Peter Barter in his last election bid.

The people of Ialibu-Pangia knew of Peter O'Neill's pending cases regarding the National provident Fund saga but they gave him a landslide victory.

Political leaders can buy votes, bribe bureaucrats, bully citizens, bamboozle their way through parliament and bastardise the constitution.

But no matter how much money they throw around they still can't build a nation out of a thousand tribes.

That takes more effort, different thinking and true integrity.


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John Kaupa Kamasua

Can't agree more with you Michael. Nation builders at all levels of the society need to ask themselves those higher level questions such as why we do what we do, what directs our efforts and actions is also very true that money, riches and wealth have never been the real solutions!

Michael Dom

Thanks Chris, but I'm not sure if the USA is really the best example for us to look to for how a nation develops.

Sure they are touted as being 'the greatest nation on earth', a world power and etc but the essence of their development is totally different from a nation like PNG.

The socio-economic and political development and how their government formed over centuries makes the USA uniquely different from PNG.

America was colonized by Westerners who were in search of wealth, resources and settlements. American Indians were displaced people.

We have an indigenous government from a nation of disparate tribes who have been present in this land for millenia.

I agree with Kela - government should not be too complicated.

But our MP's and bureaucrats try their best to make things complicated so that an already under educated population finds it even more mysterious how government should work.

Examples of this abound almost everyday, from something as simple as an inquiry at an office to get a certain document approved.

And as complex as trying to sort out the mess that is the SABL's.

Our government says one thing, but when you get to the place, go through the details or inquire to those responsible for service delivery, you get a totally different answer.

Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin

Angra MD, it is all straightforward but bureaucratic and political eunuchs (castrated males) have propped these faceless leaders up for a long while now.

Chris Overland

An interesting piece by Michael. Building a nation is not a simple task and it takes more than one leader, however inspirational, to make it happen.

History suggests that nation building is frequently a difficult, disruptive and sometimes deadly process.

So, the USA rose from 13 small colonies clinging to the edge of a vast, largely unexplored continent.

It has only ever had a handful of truly great leaders, the most important of these being George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D Roosevelt.

Most US Presidents have presided rather than led. Certainly, in its formative years, the USA was built more by the efforts of individual citizens than by its governments.

This was a sometimes exceedingly ugly process, often characterised by greed, corruption, abuse of power, slavery, civil war and, for American Indians, genocide.

It was not until the Great Depression of the early 1930's that "big government" finally asserted itself within the USA, with Roosevelt's 'New Deal" and the demands of World War 2 helping create today's modern super power.

Like most of the developed world, the governance of the USA is now conducted by a centralised, mostly honest, mostly competent bureaucracy.

There are still moments of national crisis, notably around race issues and guns, where latent divisions within US society surface, but these do not truly threaten the basic stability of what remains a union of highly diverse states and peoples.

Consequently, those of us who criticise the efforts of successive PNG governments to build a new nation ought to always bear in mind that, while there is much to criticise, it is not an easy task to build a single nation from such a highly diverse and fragmented society.

Nevertheless, Michael is right to demand that political leaders in PNG fulfill their roles with honesty, integrity and in the public interest.

Without sustained leadership of this type, building the nation will be a much more protracted and difficult process than it needs to be.

Bessielah David

I totally agree Michael, it takes real concerted efforts, true leadership to experience what they are now calling "economic growth" most of us are biting the "growth" by the brunt. Is it our (PNG) growth or their "economic decadence" bottom-line if you ask me.

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